Law Offices of Ann T. Wilson | Seattle Estate And Trust Law
Discuss Your Estate Concerns With An Experienced And Compassionate Lawyer
Law Offices of Ann T. Wilson | Seattle Estate And Trust Law
Discuss Your Estate Concerns With An Experienced And Compassionate Lawyer

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Helping You Overcome Challenging Probate And Estate Matters

Contesting a will: Is it worth it?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Probate Litigation

Losing a loved one is tragic, and the loss can be compounded by finding out you have been left out of a will or gotten less than you expected from their estate. 

Under certain circumstances, you can challenge a will in court – but you do need to consider several things. First, you can only challenge a will if you are the beneficiary of the current will, were listed as a beneficiary in a prior will, or you would have been a beneficiary had there been no will and intestacy laws applied.

Reasons for contesting a will

If you have the legal capacity to contest a will, you also need grounds for challenging the will. Some of the common grounds include:

  • There was fraud or undue influence involved, probably from their caregiver who took advantage of the situation
  • The will is not valid, and state requirements have not been met
  • Your loved one lacked the testamentary capacity to make the will
  • There is another will you believe is the most current one

All these reasons can form the basis of a contest, but the burden of proof lies on you to prove that the will should be struck.In Washington, you have four months from when a will is filed in probate court to challenge it. If you decide to contest the will later than that, your application will be time-barred, so you need to make up your mind fast.

Other things you need to consider before contesting a will

Among the things you should consider is the cost-benefit analysis of your contest. Unlike personal injury claims, you generally have to pay an attorney in advance to pursue a will contest. Given that there are costs involved, will you gain if things go your way? It’s not usually worth the money if you are only fighting over a small estate. 

You also need to consider the disruption to your life. A contested will could have a devastating effect on your family and your relationships that will never heal. That’s also an important consideration before you start. If a contest is your best course of action, you need to be well prepared with all the information you will need to navigate your case.